BERLIN — European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker says German philosopher Karl Marx shouldn't be judged for the crimes that his followers committed decades after his death.

Juncker spoke Friday at an event commemorating the 200th anniversary of Marx's birth in the western German city of Trier.

Alluding to the crimes committed by social revolutionaries in Russia, China and elsewhere, Juncker said "Marx isn't responsible for all the atrocity his alleged heirs have to answer for."

Marx laid the philosophical foundations for Communism, an ideology that aims for shared ownership of the means of production and the absence of social classes.

A 4.4-meter (14-feet) statue of Marx, donated by China, is to be unveiled in Trier on Saturday.

A German group representing victims of Communism has criticized the Marx anniversary celebrations.